Monday, September 8, 2014

Citrine Wagtail -To twitch or not to twitch - it's not even a question!

When the call went out that there was a Citrine Wagtail in Australia I was stuck - literally. I was on my way to Tassie to go  out on a pelagic. I received 3 messages from other obsessed twitchers "THERE IS A CITRINE WAGTAIL IN MUDGEE" they cried! I KNOW I cried back, in anguish....

"PARKIN, are you on your way?"  -" No" I sobbed, "I'm heading in the opposite direction" I mumbled pathetically, hardly believing I was saying it...

Steadily my mates sent me details, and, to rub it in, they regaled me with photos as one by one they made the pilgrimage and collected their photographic trophies. I, meanwhile, had my trip to Tassie, which was great, but I kept thinking about the wagtail, I simply had to see it!

But, my holidays were over and  I had to return to work to pay for my birding adventures, there was no time left to squeeze in the trip. I was defeated....

I walked into my office on my first day back to work and my boss greeted me happily, "BIRDER, welcome back"!! Are you refreshed and relaxed after 3 weeks off"?
 "NO" I exclaimed, "There's a Citrine Wagtail in Mudgee, a first for mainland Australia" I cried in despair.
 "OK" she said "when do you need to leave? You have to get on a plane! Go book your ticket, you have to get the bird!!!!"

WOW! Was she serious? YES, she understands the importance of a vagrant! I'll convert her to birding yet!  THANK YOU most patient and understanding boss! Ticket booked immediately!

A flight to Sydney, some helpful details from a birding mate who had already twitched the bird and 4 hr drive later I was at the local wetland in Mudgee NSW - it was the middle of the night  and it was FREEZING!

I waited for the sun to rise and by 6am Saturday I had the bird. What an exquisite little bird, happily feeding in the mud. 1200 photos later and I was ecstatic!

Citrine Wagtail



I met up with my mate Grant and while enjoying the bird we discovered why there were so many snake warning signs in the area. Sitting on the grass photographing the wagtail Grant heard a noise behind us and turned to see a Red-bellied Black Snake less than one metre behind us sliding straight towards us! He jumped up which made the poor little snake realise we were there and it changed direction and disappeared.

The wetland birding was great but I failed to really take many shots other than of the wagtail.

Australasian Shoveler

We left about 11am ready for breakfast very happy with our morning birding at the wetland.

The next morning I looked around Blue Mountains National Park and in Blackheath found some lovely Rockwarblers.

Not exactly ideal weather for photography

Even though it was foggy and rained non-stop I was able to get some photos as I sat on the ground in a puddle. The bird I was photographing was calling to its mate. The mate replied, it sounded close to me so I turned my head and realised it was actually sitting on my foot! Too close to get a shot!





The area had a Superb Lyrebird as well who gave me a great performance of it's various calls.

Superb Lyrebird in the fog



A very successful weekend with Citrine Wagtail becoming my 709th bird on my Australian Life List!